Tara A Legates

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Using the photopigment melanopsin, intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) respond directly to light to drive circadian clock resetting and pupillary constriction. We now report that ipRGCs are more abundant and diverse than previously appreciated, project more widely within the brain, and can support spatial visual perception. A(More)
Light detected in the retina modulates several physiological processes including circadian photo-entrainment and pupillary light reflex. Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) convey rod-cone and melanopsin-driven light input to the brain. Using EEGs and electromyograms, we show that acute light induces sleep in mice during their(More)
Light has profoundly influenced the evolution of life on earth. As widely appreciated, light enables us to generate images of our environment. However, light - through intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) - also influences behaviours that are essential for our health and quality of life but are independent of image formation. These(More)
Depression is a common cause of mortality and morbidity, but the biological bases of the deficits in emotional and cognitive processing remain incompletely understood. Current antidepressant therapies are effective in only some patients and act slowly. Here, we propose an excitatory synapse hypothesis of depression in which chronic stress and genetic(More)
The daily solar cycle allows organisms to synchronize their circadian rhythms and sleep-wake cycles to the correct temporal niche. Changes in day-length, shift-work, and transmeridian travel lead to mood alterations and cognitive function deficits. Sleep deprivation and circadian disruption underlie mood and cognitive disorders associated with irregular(More)
Vertebrate circadian rhythms are organized by the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Despite its physiological importance, SCN development is poorly understood. Here, we show that Lim homeodomain transcription factor 1 (Lhx1) is essential for terminal differentiation and function of the SCN. Deletion of Lhx1 in the developing SCN results in loss of(More)
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the primary pharmacological treatment for depression, but SSRIs are effective in only half of the patients and typically take several weeks to relieve symptoms. The NMDA receptor antagonist ketamine exerts a rapid antidepressant action, but has troubling side effects. We hypothesized that negative(More)
Stability of neuronal connectivity is critical for brain functions, and morphological perturbations are associated with neurodegenerative disorders. However, how neuronal morphology is maintained in the adult brain remains poorly understood. Here, we identify Wnt5a, a member of the Wnt family of secreted morphogens, as an essential factor in maintaining(More)
Circadian rhythms in mammals are coordinated by the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) of the hypothalamus, which are most potently synchronized to environmental light-dark cycles. Large advances in the light-dark cycle typically yield gradual advances in activity rhythms on the order of 1-2h per day until re-entrainment is complete due to limitations on the(More)
Circadian rhythms are physiological functions that cycle over a period of approximately 24 hours (circadian- circa: approximate and diem: day). They are responsible for timing our sleep/wake cycles and hormone secretion. Since this timing is not precisely 24-hours, it is synchronized to the solar day by light input. This is accomplished via photic input(More)